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Most travellers speed across the modern bridge that spans the Clyde River and fifteen minutes later reach Batemans Bay. Before 1964 they would have joined the long queue of vehicles waiting to be ferried across on the punt. 30,000 vehicles used the punts at Nelligen in 1963, the year before the bridge opened.
But a lot has changed at Nelligen. In its heydays Nelligen was a busy seaport and coastal town. The village was laid out in 1854 when the Illawarra Steam Navigation Co (ISN) began operating here.
Nelligen became a depot for supplies brought down the coast from Sydney and up the Clyde River by the ISN. From here they were transported mostly to Braidwood and the neighbouring goldfields.
By 1860 fine hundred horses and nearly as many bullocks were carrying the trade between Nelligen and Braidwood. By that time the village boasted four public houses, two stores, two blacksmiths, a baker and a watchhouse manned by two policemen.
Today Nelligen is a quiet little backwater, but still fulfilling the role of a rest stop for the traveller as it has done since the "road" via the Clyde Mountain was opened in 1856.
It is a picturesque little town, nestled as it is on the banks of the slow-flowing Clyde River. Nelligen has an air of history and old-time charm about it, remaining untainted by the progressive developments down the road at Batemans Bay.